Kickstart scheme provides manpower for innovative Bristol start up

Economy & Politics | Employment & Skills | South West

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One hundred and forty businesses are working with Business West to help young people get jobs under the government’s Kickstart scheme.

Over one hundred and thirty vacancies are currently live on the Business West Kickstart gateway, which offers young people 6-month work placements at businesses across the West of England, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Thirty-seven young people aged between 16-24 are now in jobs that they found via the Business West gateway. The national scheme has had a slower than anticipated start with a few early problems with the DWP portal, but Business West are pleased that momentum is now building behind the scheme.

Nicky Williams, Head of Skills at Business West, said: “We want to encourage businesses to apply to us to create more quality placements. Business West is focused on helping businesses to grow and learn by taking on these young people.”

She added: “We have some great jobs available under Kickstart – everything from a junior salon assistant to video producers and data analysts.”

The Kickstart grants pay 25 hours a week at the national minimum wage for each Kickstart recruit. Business West also provides them with an employability mentor.

Fledgling start-up company, Revive Innovations, based in the old Royal Mail sorting office in Redland, Bristol, is one of the firms which has recruited three young Kickstarters.

Founding director Kieran Devlin, aged 24, has recruited two designers from Brighton University through Business West’s Kickstart gateway plus a business and marketing graduate from UWE Bristol.

Kieran, who has won national awards for his design projects said: “Kickstart seemed the ideal way for me as a small business to really push on and get that extra manpower while working on a small business budget.

“I was able to hire all the people I wanted to hire under Kickstart, and by September we are aiming to have enough money to actually employ the guys.”

Kieran won several design awards when he left UWE including a UK Young Innovators Award and a Santander ambassadorship for start-ups.

Revive Innovations aims to create innovative materials and products by recycling waste in unique ways. Kieran’s current project, RE-CD, creates innovative solutions to re-purpose optical discs – CDs, DVDs, games and software discs.

“From a young age, I was always a creative kid making things in the garden,” said Kieran, whose Dad teaches design at his old school in Suffolk. I knew I would be making stuff – I had no idea it would be out of CDs.”

The old CDs are the current template for his designs, and they are on the market with two different bar stool designs, earrings and soap dishes.

“Bristol has one of the best recycling systems in the country,” commented Kieran. “In the next 12 months we are looking to set up a number of different collection stations for CDs and other waste products.”

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